Recording Drums (what recording rack components)

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Well, I have (while deployed in the Middle East) been looking at a few options to create a small rack (not a drum rack I have that already) but a recording rack. I am thinking on buying the Zoom Livetrack -l20 as the mixer/recording unit, that by itself can do the job and do a decent job, but having a little more disposable $$ I would like to add a few components such as an EQ.(Eyeing the Behringer Ultragraph Pro FBQ6200HD). I know the Zoom has built in EQ, but a dedicated EQ unit can offer a lot more than a built in.. The other components would be a power conditioner (last thing you want is some spike to fry all of your components or a ground to ruin your recording. I know there are a couple more "must haves" but I have never done this and I would like some advice. (I do learn really fast about any subject so feel free to offer any advice). The last thing I should mention is that I would like that rack to mostly be used in a home studio type of setup, but also to have the flexibility to be taken to a gig on occasion. My budget not counting the $1000 Zoom Livetrack would be around $3000. Maybe I could go up to $5000, but that would have to be something that would not need to be upgraded too soon. ( Maybe after 5 or 6 years it would be ok to upgrade it). I should also point out that I am not recording for anybody, this is just a hobby but I do want to have a decent quality recording, something that a semi pro producer would be ok submitting to clients.
And lastly I should ask if anyone knows of a decent set of drum mics. (I have seen some kits but they are all for a 5 piece set (3 toms, snare, bass drum, and 2 over heads) I have not seen any kits for a 7 piece set (5 toms, snare, bass drum, plus the 2 over heads). For those mics I think as of right now I will set my budget to about $1000. Again any recommendation are appreciated.
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Are you looking to record, as opposed to work with live sound (ie a PA system)?

Generally speaking, recording drums is based around an Audio Interface and DAW software on a computer. The mics go into the interface, which goes into the computer, usually via USB. All EQing is done within the DAW software (Cubase, Logic etc.). You certainly don't need $5000 for this, and you would end up with a professional sound.

I run a professional studio in the UK, from which I record for clients all over the world. I have a £500 audio interface (Tascam US 20x20), and Cubase software (£500). I have about £600 worth of mics, and that's it. I record on a £1,500 laptop (Dell XPS 13).

I would suggest looking at interfaces, DAW software, and mics, rather than live tracks and outboard EQ units. The DAW are pro level software that do everything digitally. Far more efficient than outboard hardware.
 

OSDrums

Well-known member
I‘d also suggest a digital mixer as interface and a DAW. Why a digital mixer like the X32 compact or a M32R? Because while recording you can use these as latency free monitor mixer for you and your bandmates and you can record up to 32 separate tracks via USB to the DAW. When mixing you can switch to do it in the box (= the DAW). If you use a interface instead of a mixer you always fight against latency which can steal your precious recoding time easily...
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Start with a Yamaha EAD-10. Comes with the kick drum trigger with 2 stereo mic's AND the interface in one box. For a 4 piece kit, it's beyond phenomenal. Connects right to your computer with a myriad of effects & extras. Go the extra $50 & get the spare trigger for your extra floor tom or other drum.

A real review from a touring drummer who shows what it's really about.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Are you looking to record, as opposed to work with live sound (ie a PA system)?

Generally speaking, recording drums is based around an Audio Interface and DAW software on a computer. The mics go into the interface, which goes into the computer, usually via USB. All EQing is done within the DAW software (Cubase, Logic etc.). You certainly don't need $5000 for this, and you would end up with a professional sound.

I run a professional studio in the UK, from which I record for clients all over the world. I have a £500 audio interface (Tascam US 20x20), and Cubase software (£500). I have about £600 worth of mics, and that's it. I record on a £1,500 laptop (Dell XPS 13).

I would suggest looking at interfaces, DAW software, and mics, rather than live tracks and outboard EQ units. The DAW are pro level software that do everything digitally. Far more efficient than outboard hardware.
I know an interface is Easier, the only reason I was looking into getting the Zoom is because IT IS an interface which just happens to ALSO be A MIXER and has onboard recording capabilities, which I would only use for efficiency's sake , it can record to an SD card, but it also records to a DAW. I also needed to have at least 20 inputs which the Zoom does have. I know I can get an interface and expand it with ADAT, but that will be for recording only, I wouldn't be able to use it live when I need it. Yes It may be more practical...I guess I could do 2 separate racks, one for recording and one for live (if we ever get back to playing live.. Damn Covid). For Software I use Reaper and I have multiple drum Vst's, I am just tired of every new band sounding the same because they tend to use the same samples, I know I can do better recording real drums. I was more asking to see what works for others and if they have a preference. I would like to have the best of both we'll see I am currently in the middle east just planning for when I get back home.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I know an interface is Easier, the only reason I was looking into getting the Zoom is because IT IS an interface which just happens to ALSO be A MIXER and has onboard recording capabilities, which I would only use for efficiency's sake , it can record to an SD card, but it also records to a DAW. I also needed to have at least 20 inputs which the Zoom does have. I know I can get an interface and expand it with ADAT, but that will be for recording only, I wouldn't be able to use it live when I need it. Yes It may be more practical...I guess I could do 2 separate racks, one for recording and one for live (if we ever get back to playing live.. Damn Covid). For Software I use Reaper and I have multiple drum Vst's, I am just tired of every new band sounding the same because they tend to use the same samples, I know I can do better recording real drums. I was more asking to see what works for others and if they have a preference. I would like to have the best of both we'll see I am currently in the middle east just planning for when I get back home.
You might consider the Presonus Studiolive, which has on-board graphic EQs that you can put across the main mix, and also the monitor mix.

IMO, it's a real pain to have one rig for both recording and live. You'll spend countless hours tearing everything down and setting up again. And when recording interfaces are relatively inexpensive...
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I agree with the sentiment expressed above.

Rather than investing in a channel strip for each chan and outboard gear, consider the Upgrade to a Presonus StudioLive AI or UA Apollo so that you don't need the additional investment.

The Presonus stuff is "really good" for both live and recording. The UA stuff is near perfection, and I'd own one if I could justify sacrificing my childrens' college fund.


 
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doggyd69b

Well-known member
I agree with the sentiment expressed above.

Rather than investing in a channel strip for each chan and outboard gear, consider the Upgrade to a Presonus StudioLive AI or UA Apollo so that you don't need the additional investment.

The Presonus stuff is "really good" for both live and recording. The UA stuff is near perfection, and I'd own one if I could justify sacrificing my childrens' college fund.


I don't have children except for a Weimaraner dog and a cat, so no worries about college fund (they already have completed all their schooling).
The channel strip idea was just that an idea, I am still considering several interfaces...my main requirement is that it has enough inputs (that way I can record all my drums in single tracks, plus maybe a bass, a couple of guitars and a couple of vocals at the same time). the rig will pretty much remain all plugged in save for the power because it will be mounted in a rolling rack case which can be parked in it's regular spot, but be moved (by disconnecting the power) to anywhere you need it to. so it would not be much of a pain to take to a gig (in the places where the venue doesn't provide it/or if we happened to want to record our set). I am looking now at the Presonus StudioLive 24.2, it does look pretty sweet and it is actually decently priced. do you own one? ( I just read about the college fund sorry)... I am now reading the reviews. I have been reading about this for about 5 months, (3 of which I had to spend in a hotel room isolated pre-deployment due to covid precautions and such) so I had nothing but time to learn everything about mixers/interfaces. I just want to try to make the best choice (so I don't have to add too much extra gear save some power conditioner and a tuner plus any other absolutely essential item like a patch panel so I have the ability to keep all my cables connected to the mixer, but be able to plug everything to the front of the rack as well). The idea is to get a 16 U rack cart that will have more than enough room to house the mixer and the other gear (I might make one just to have it be custom to my needs because I can probably make a much better much sturdier (if only heavier) unit myself and for half the price of the available ones. I am glad I asked I didn't consider the Presonus before because I though it was way out of my price range, but it is only $ 200 more than what I was going to spend so that is not bad.
I would love to be able to watch the suggested videos but here our internet is really not great, I will check on this as soon as i can.
Again thank you to all that are helping. I will post some videos of the process and hopefully some recordings for you guys to destroy (I mean constructively critisize)....
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Presonus StudioLive 24.2, it does look pretty sweet and it is actually decently priced. do you own one? ( I just read about the college fund sorry)... I am now reading the reviews. I have been reading about this for about 5 months, (3 of which I had to spend in a hotel room isolated pre-deployment due to covid precautions and such) so I had nothing but time to learn everything about mixers/interfaces.
I was an relatively-early adopter of the pre-AI Presonus digital mixers back in the mid 2000's and used them for club/cafe live sound (we owned the clubs). They were fantastic. If I were in a gig'ing band today, they would be my first choice, well ahead of Behringer/Zoom in terms of quality. They also lend themselves to automation well (synchronized backing tracks, lighting, choreography cue's, etc).
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I was an relatively-early adopter of the pre-AI Presonus digital mixers back in the mid 2000's and used them for club/cafe live sound (we owned the clubs). They were fantastic. If I were in a gig'ing band today, they would be my first choice, well ahead of Behringer/Zoom in terms of quality. They also lend themselves to automation well (synchronized backing tracks, lighting, choreography cue's, etc).
I saw this guy a few years ago using his DAW to play a Tool medley, he was using an electronic drumset and programmed the daw to change the drums according to the song part, then proceeded to play a seamless track with multiple different drums with only a 5 piece set, after watching that I knew I had to learn how to use automation to not necessarily accomplish something that complex but to at least have a couple of extra pads be activated to add effects to regular songs. I knew about the lights but I never messed with it much, I guess I was focusing more on midi doing that but it sounds like this board can do it way easier. I am looking forward to getting it, so far every single person that has tried it has nothing but good things to say about it.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I was an relatively-early adopter of the pre-AI Presonus digital mixers back in the mid 2000's and used them for club/cafe live sound (we owned the clubs). They were fantastic. If I were in a gig'ing band today, they would be my first choice, well ahead of Behringer/Zoom in terms of quality. They also lend themselves to automation well (synchronized backing tracks, lighting, choreography cue's, etc).
I owned a Studiolive for a few years, and agree with all this. Surprisingly, Behringer preamps have gotten much better in recent years (I'm using an XAir18 for recording now), but Zoom and Soundcraft lag behind in terms of preamps.

I gigged with a band that swapped a Studiolive for a Soundcraft, and the sonic difference was quite noticeable. It became difficult to set the input gain at a good level for the (very decent) vocal mics, and the overall sound seemed not as balanced.

I've also used the Behringer XAir for live recording, and it was rock solid, and sounded great. We used StudioOne on a Macbook, then dropped the files into Logic later on for mixing.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I gigged with a band that swapped a Studiolive for a Soundcraft, and the sonic difference was quite noticeable. It became difficult to set the input gain at a good level for the (very decent) vocal mics, and the overall sound seemed not as balanced.
You bring up the number one issue I've faced with inexpensive preamps built into Zoom/Behringer/etc. Headroom. They're fine for almost everything, but when you plug a 7B into them ( or have a mumbler on Vox), you simply run out of road. You then realize that you either need an outboard pre/strip just for Vox, or you can go back to the drawing board and get gear that does it right to begin with.

I've never encountered a cheap pre-amp that couldn't handle conventional drums though.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
You bring up the number one issue I've faced with inexpensive preamps built into Zoom/Behringer/etc. Headroom. They're fine for almost everything, but when you plug a 7B into them ( or have a mumbler on Vox), you simply run out of road. You then realize that you either need an outboard pre/strip just for Vox, or you can go back to the drawing board and get gear that does it right to begin with.

I've never encountered a cheap pre-amp that couldn't handle conventional drums though.

All Very valid points, I am now considering the Presonus 32 AI not the newest version but the one they just discontinued, they have it on sale for $1500 Factory refurbished so it comes with all software and guaranteed hardware. I downloaded a few videos on the mixer and it covers everything I would ever need and more. Can't wait.
 
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